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Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra: 40 Acres and a Burro

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Arturo O'Farrill leading his Latin Jazz Orchestra at CareFusion Newport Jazz Festival 2010
Arturo O'Farrill

Since ending its affiliation with Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2002, Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra has grown more adventurous, its leader travelling well beyond his Afro-Cuban roots. The musical exploration continues on 40 Acres and a Burro, which has the big-band digging deeper into the textures and rhythms of South America and the Caribbean, along the way giving showcase spots to a variety of arrangers and a long list of superb soloists.

O’Farrill’s band does right by Dizzy Gillespie, enlivening “A Night in Tunisia” with fresh syncopations, quick breaks for drums and percussion, trombone crunch-downs and bracing solo work from trumpeter John Walsh and others. They salute another major influence, Arturo’s father, Chico O’Farrill, with his arrangement of “Almendra,” bolstered by Pablo Bilbraut’s güiro (a Dominican percussion instrument) and offering open space for bassist Ricardo Rodriguez, trombonist Tokunori Kajiwara and trumpeter Seneca Black.

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